(Wii U)

Game Review

Game Party Champions Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Ken Barnes

Mini lame

Whenever a new console is launched, there are always one or two decidedly awful titles released that have been thrown together in time for the big night. The publisher’s thinking here is that most early adopters will want to leave the store with a stack of games for their new console, and if they keep the retail price low, their atrocity will suddenly look like a bargain compared to the wave of full-priced titles that are available on day one.

That is undoubtedly what’s happened with Game Party Champions. Although, given that none of the other four titles in the Game Party series (one for Kinect, three for the original Wii) has managed to reach a Metacritic score of 40 out of 100, the reason that this particular launch title is so bad could well lie elsewhere. Strangely, the addition of the Wii U’s GamePad to an already appalling game series does little to improve the mix.

Eight mini-games comprise this little bundle of “fun”. You’ve got air hockey, skee-ball, table tennis, miniature golf, an automated baseball pitcher to swing at, a water gun game, and arcade-style basketball and American football machines to attempt to enjoy. And enjoy them you won’t. Each of the games features hefty dollops of slowdown, atrocious AI when you face off against a CPU player, and controls that are so hit-and-miss that you may as well not be playing.

Interestingly, single players can take part in a Story mode, which is unusual for this type of game. You choose a pre-made character (who is mute throughout – even when people are talking directly to him or her in a cutscene) and start on your way. We chose to play as the fresh-faced Riley, and watched his friend Jason (no, there’s no option to skip) start to riff his way through a bizarre monologue in an attempt to convince him to come and play in a series of arcade tournaments. You know, to help him get over the loss of his dad who died five years ago, and all that.

No, we’re not kidding.

When you finally make it to the arcade, you find that you can only choose from four of the games contained on the disc, with the other four unlocked when you complete the first set. To do this, you have to beat five opponents at each game type. This is simplicity itself due to the lack of any challenge from the AI opposition, and even the worst players will find themselves cruising through the stages to be rewarded with the same celebratory cutscene over and over again. “Watch out! This opponent is hard to beat!” warns the game, right before you win the Ping Pong final without dropping a single point, or beat a one-minute challenge score with 50 seconds to spare. In addition to the lack of challenge, any game that sees you going head-to-head against an AI player — rather than attempting to beat the score of one that is invisible — runs so slowly that you’ll start to think that your Wii U is about to turn its little plastic and metal toes up to the sky.

If you’ve more than one person who wants to play, Party Mode is where the action is. Or rather, Party Mode is where the action would be in pretty much every other game ever made. Here, players spin a wheel to see how many spaces they can move along on an incredibly simple board. The colour of the space that they land on determines which game they’ll be asked to play, and if they beat the challenge presented, they stay on their new spot. Fail, and they’ll move back to where they were. On our first go-round, the first game we stumbled upon was Air Hockey. The challenge was to score a goal against the CPU within 25 seconds, while all other players got the opportunity to “grief” the challenger via their Wii Remotes. None of the four of us worked out exactly what this griefing consisted of, as it didn’t seem to work.

We interrupt this portion of the review with an important note: “Griefing” is the only multiplayer action included in Game Party Champions. That’s right! A mini-game compilation that doesn’t allow more than one player to play any games. Ever.

After failing to score the required goal, we headed back to the board and got shuffled back to the start. A quick look at the watch proved that the 25-second challenge had taken around two and a half minutes, thanks to the incredibly long periods of loading that occur seemingly all the time. This is what puts the final nail in the Story Mode’s coffin too, as waiting for minutes at a time between rounds gives you enough of a chance to reflect on how soul-destroyingly bad the last round of gameplay was.

In terms of innovative GamePad use, Game Party Champions strikes out without even taking a swing. In all honesty, it barely makes it to the plate. All games (aside from water gun shooting, which uses the pad’s gyroscope as a set of sights) are controlled with swipes of the stylus and work in varying levels up to (and including) “barely acceptable”. In basketball, you have to swipe the stylus across the GamePad from bottom to top in order to take your shot, while tilting the device to aim. You would have thought that having to have the device tilted so far toward you that you can’t see the screen anymore would stop you from using the stylus properly. Funnily enough, it does.

And when you aren’t tearing your forearm muscles all to hell to try and get the game to respond properly, the second screen is either entirely white, or has a still image of the game logo in place. That pretty much goes to show exactly how much time and thought has really been put in here.

Conclusion

Game Party Champions is – to put it nicely – a bad game. We’re not even venturing into “so bad that it’s good” territory, either. We’re way past that. On the shelves on Wii U launch day, you could pick up any other title for just a few pounds more than the asking price of this. Alternatively, you could have not bothered buying any games, and still had more fun than if you’d walked out of the store with Game Party Champions. This is so bad that your great-great-grandchildren will want to change their surname when they find out that you once played it. Avoid.

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User Comments (38)

HandheldGuru97

#1

HandheldGuru97 said:

Wow...a 1/10 for launch title? I hope the other higher rated titles are sign of things to come not things like this.

AyeHaley

#4

AyeHaley said:

"This is so bad that your great-great-grandchildren will want to change their surname when they find out that you once played it. Avoid." Perfect conclusion!! Haha <3 it!

Ren

#13

Ren said:

not a big surprise but doesn't bode well for the future especially if they made any money off this. Looks like something from the promising end of the PS1's life. ouch

Chomposaur

#14

Chomposaur said:

wow i find it hilarious just reading the comments on Miiverse. people draw a shovel and write + "ware" Lol

Chunky_Droid

#15

Chunky_Droid said:

I had the... erm... pleasure... of playing this at the EB Expo and I can't believe it forced me to repeatedly throw a gridiron football into a whole for 5 MINUTES STRAIGHT, ARGH

farfromsleep

#16

farfromsleep said:

I'm glad you gave this one the kicking it deserved and didn't just fob it off with a 5/10 or something. The more publishers get the message that this kind of thing Isn't Good Enough Anymore, the better. Minigame collections can be fantastic when done right, but there's little worse than a lazy cash-grab.

The arcade machines in the background are a strange touch. "Hey, remember Joust? Pretty great game, huh? Well that's just a background prop, enjoy these terrible attempts at physical skill games."

Knux

#17

Knux said:

One thing hasn't changed about the Wii and Wii U, which is tons of shovelware! It's My Birthday Too should be developed! ;)

SuperKMx

#18

SuperKMx said:

@farfromsleep Haha - it's funny you mention that. I cut out a whole paragraph like that from my review. I saw a S.T.U.N. Runner arcade machine in the back and was DYING for them to have emulated it as an unlockable or something. Alas, no.

Chrono_Cross

#19

Chrono_Cross said:

Hear that guys? Wii U has one really crappy game at its launch, which automatically means its library is full of shovelware! Who knew?

9th_Sage

#20

9th_Sage said:

Hmm....now I want to see a cheap, eShop downloadable air hockey game where one player is on the TV and the other is on the Gamepad. Oh, and that isn't crap like this game.

farfromsleep

#21

farfromsleep said:

@kenb glad to see it wasn't just me thinking that, heh.

@9th_Sage I could definitely go for a quality air hockey game as a cheap eShop title. Maybe Ubisoft could dig into the same archives they dragged Zombi out from and give us a HD reboot of Shufflepuck Cafe.

Razalom

#23

Razalom said:

LOL good review. All systems sadly have these games appearing from time to time.

DarkLloyd

#24

DarkLloyd said:

well this shovelware as i hear it is always going to be around :P money is money after all

MrWalkieTalkie

#26

MrWalkieTalkie said:

I really hope the Wii U doesn't get barraged and "raped" with so many generic party games like the Wii did...

Alienfish

#28

Alienfish said:

Ok, so the game is bad, but 1's should be reserved for games that are so full of bugs that they are unplayable. Bad controls, framerate, and overall game should be a 2 or 3 at worst. I still learned my lesson with the first Game Party on Wii and will never be fooled again by this garbage franchise.

JuanitoShet

#29

JuanitoShet said:

I could tell right away from the title that it is shovelware, and I'm not even familiar with the series! And I'm grateful for that, too!

RetrogamerFan

#30

RetrogamerFan said:

Oh dear, although i'm not surprised. The sad fact is it'll probably sell; the Wii got at least three (almost identical) versions of Game Party if i remeber correctly so enough people must've bought it.
I see this is by someone called Phosphor games, the Wii versions were by Farsight, who when they weren't making game party did the fantastic Gottlieb and Williams Pinball collections. When i eventually get a Wii U, will be looking out for The Pinball Arcade.

SheldonRandoms

#32

SheldonRandoms said:

I think the cover sums up the game perfectly, play this terrible game and you'll throw all your sports stuff across the room, hopefully hitting this game and breaking it and other games in the game party series.

Aloysius_Rexford

#34

Aloysius_Rexford said:

Yeah, just from hearing the name I expected a crappy out come for this game.

  • Doesn't really matter for me though. The first game I played was Nintendo land and that sold it for me, I love the way the Wii u is handling so far. More titles like Nintendo land! Especially Donkey Kong's Crash Course please!
Lobster

#36

Lobster said:

The last line is brilliant. Excellent review.

As with all shovelware, the most fun you would have with it is if you took an actual shovel, bludgeoned it to pieces, and then used the shovel to bury the pieces. Come to think of it, that would make a nice minigame if you could really get the feel of it down.

mayhem13

#38

mayhem13 said:

The sad thing is on the original Wii, Game Party was considered of a higher level quality for third party games. They had third party games on the Wii that people to this day don't even know existed or are still trying to forget (Ninjabreadman anyone), they were so bad and ignored. They took shovelware to a whole new low. So it made games like Game Party seem better than they were.

But a game like this with no multiplayer (I mean the local kind of multiplayer) that is just dumb. That is usually the one saving grace, two people in a room looking silly, having fun. That can take a game like this and at least make it ok.

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